Gratitude Sunday: Radical Old Women

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age.” Gloria Steinem

Sunday Haiku
Autumn’s last week of
brilliance, leaves color-glazed,
burnished by cold nights.

Sunday Musing
We are two old, white, hippie-type women watching the local farmers market take place around us. We sit upon a city bench, a city which both of us had served for more than 16 years, she as a city councilor and I as an over-the-counter service worker. Both of us are educated in college and in life. Both of us have an area of expertise, hers being environment and water knowledge, the science and dangers of fracking, what we are doing to our oceans, and the dangers of second hand drugs in our city treated water; my expertise being the construction of words into some form of reason and customer service expertise. Both of us have survived attempted death at the hands of men we loved. Both of us have scars, inside and out. Both of us have seen the uglier side of people; both of us know more than perhaps we’d like to know. Like the truth. Like lies. Like fear.

We know the truth. We know what big money powers are doing to our earth and what poisons they wreak in the name of profit and at the expense of working people, which is the greatest resource any nation has. We know that same big money has diverted education into a sham, and despite the illusion of Equal Opportunity, available only to the wealthy, which is no marker of intelligence or merit. We know why some women will never tell how they too have been violated, possibly by the very men they stand beside, because they are so invested and dependent on the patriarchal system to them it would be admitting they were tainted.

We know lies when we see them. We know liars when they lie. We know where to dig out the evidence if we need to. We know living with lies is no way to live. We were hesitant to speak of how ugly our country could get over the next two years after having gotten so ugly so fast in the last two years, yet both of us know enough history to see some truly vile possibilities.

We are afraid for our country. We are afraid for the future of our grandchildren. We are afraid for women. We are afraid of men and for men. We are afraid of poverty. We are afraid of having what we’ve worked for and earned taken away from us.

Both of us for the last few months have been trying to get out the vote any way we can. Neither of us have joined an organized group because we don’t have time or energy for that, but we are both of us talkers, and we ask everybody we know if they are registered to vote. Older people like us are more likely to vote. We’ve been around long enough to know the consequences of not voting. A good recent example is Trump, who is busy making all kinds of messes for the sake of his personal profit that will take us years to recover from. I’ve been concentrating on the 18-30 age group, the young lifeguards at my pool, the son’s friends, clerks who serve me over any counter. Shopping and service counters are not the place to have a discussion about the politics of the vote. A simple “Are you registered to vote?” or “Do you have a plan to vote?” suffices.

We are looking to our children and grandchildren to step up now and help. It’s time for another generation or two to start getting political experience and help change government into a model that works for Americans in the future as well as now. A model for all Americans, not just the wealthy or the ones now in power.

It’s a generational thing, politics. We must listen to the history our elders tell us about the past and what they lived, as well as read history books. When your elders tell you there was a time when America was prosperous and even working people felt like they were making enough to live on and be productive taxpayers, they will also tell you corporations and the upper classes paid a larger percent of tax investments. When the wealthy and corporations paid a share we had affordable housing, education, and we were on the way to affordable health care. People planned and saved money for vacations and retirements.

The friend who shared my bench told of the back room deals, the old boys network, the silencing of her (female) voice with over-talking and mansplaining though she was the expert who spent the time at the seminars and consortiums. Running with the pigs, she called it. No more, she said. I can’t blame her. Between the two of us, we had plans and projects and ideas for improving the homeless problem, hunger, education, employment, health care, secure and dignified retirement, and a myriad of others. We didn’t have a plan to impart our knowledge without people thinking we were wacky old women. We are radicals outside the system now.

I get it. As much as I dislike change, it must be done. Time passes. We learn new things, develop new technology, new techniques, new ideas change the way we live. We don’t build barns for our horses and cows any more; we build garages for our cars. We don’t send letters via Pony Express or even the United States Postal Service; we text or instant message on personal hand-held devices. Each generation takes the environment and political climate they get and improves. Or not. Nothing is ever perfect, but change might get us closer to excellence.

Like my friend and I sharing stories on that city bench, communication is the key. We must talk to each other. We don’t generally do that at church, where religion or spirituality is the accepted topic. Many of us don’t hang out in bars, there are no weekly town halls or social community gatherings any more. Getting people to attend a city council meeting is like offering a root canal. We have to find places where we can talk and feel safe about disagreeing until we reach a consensus.

Here’s the thing: You can’t tell the younger generation it’s time for them to step up and at the same time call them uneducated, lazy slackers. This is repeated history. I heard the same thing about my generation when I was a young adult and working my butt off to be a young adult.

It is time for younger people to step up because they are not slackers. Many of them are paying off student loans because they were sold higher education, which has been co-opted into a for-profit system with no job guarantees. Many younger people are working two or three jobs because the system is rigged against earning a living wage and inflation has created an environment of greed. Few younger people are able to, or able to choose to, have one parent home with the kids. Who is raising their kids? Who is home? Younger people are trying their best to do it all, but like the Red Queen’s Race in Alice Through the Looking Glass, the faster they run the further behind they get. And some elders have the nerve to tell them they are worthless.

We two old women had to part ways and get on with our day and leave the city bench we’d warmed for the last hour. We declared ourselves radicals, not radicals of violence or destruction, but radicals still, radicals always, radicals dedicated, as loving and caring people, to helping others learn and know and understand truth and lies. We are maybe even radical old women who encourage younger people to be involved in our communities and be radical.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – This time of year I am always trying to capture the yellows and light. Sun brightening the yellow in the tree of my neighbor that I get to enjoy. And the same tree casting its yellowed leaves on the shed roof. Stately yellowing tree across the street framed by picket fence. Golden globes of quince peaking between shining satiny green leaves.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} The Manchurian Candidate (1962, rated PG – 13) with Frank Sinatra. Somehow black and white makes these older movies seem creepier. Mind control is creepy enough as it is. Add politics to the mix. Creepier still. A classic that must be viewed at least once; junior year in high school would be good. Halloween is a good time for creepy movies. Recommended. * Life of the Party (2018, rated PG – 13), with Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy is cute as a button, but I often find her humor dull. A few witty lines and a feeble plot does not a comedy make. Meh. * Finished season 3 of DCI Banks, predictable cop stories.

Currently Reading – Finished The Little Paris Bookshop (2015, fiction) by Nina George. A few surprises at the end of this heart-sweet novel. Not a romance, but a love story for the heart; perfect summer read. * I think I have found a scary Halloween read. Alice (2015, fiction) by Christina Henry, an Alice in Wonderland story on methamphetamine, with an evil Rabbit and a monstrous Jabberwocky, begins in an asylum of a dystopian future. Alice is rescued from a fire in the hospital by the man she speaks to through a mouse hole in the wall. The asylum and the escape shows us a world of violence and the promise of more to come, where the sanity and ethics of every character is questioned. Sort of echoes current fears. * Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone in the Dust, Why That is a Problem, and What to do About It (2017, sociology, wealth) by Richard V. Reeves. This has been quite a tedious read for the information presented. I don’t know how to change the minds of wealthy people who might not even realize simple solutions to an over-advantaged system will not lose them any profit, income, or material goods. The author has ideas for change but not for changing the minds of the wealthy, though the author does suggest the wealthy lose some of their self-interest, think beyond themselves, and stop acting entitled to tax cuts and breaks when the system has already worked for them and made them wealthy.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Being able to still do some of my own housework.
  • How lovely it feels to have a freshly washed floor.
  • Another sunny and mild autumn week. I love the rain too, and it will be here soon enough.
  • Medical facilities that got us right in that day when I called to be seen.
  • The medical thing that happened was wildly ugly in appearance but nothing to be concerned about.
  • The veterinarian who got us right in the next day when I panicked after being up all night with Mister Kitty struggling to breathe.
  • Mister Kitty is better already. I had done the right things to get him through the night.
  • Grateful for instinct and the knowledge to back it up.
  • The nap I needed after stressing over Mister Kitty.
  • One last box of sweet cherry tomatoes. The nights are getting too cold.
  • A box of blackberries, more tart than sweet, but when mixed with strawberries the two sweet-tarts please my tongue.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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